It is a very long while since matters of child care were of direct interest. So what is going on now is a puzzle.
It is something that seems to have become removed from being a simple local matter to a major concern and affair of State.
With the usual results. A contact has kindly tried to explain to me some of the intricacies, for which I am grateful.
The Childcare Industry is peculiar in that it has specific pressures. There is legislation that fixes the number of staff to children (the ratios) and also the minimum number of fully qualified staff. And staff in training.
There are serious consequences of being found not to stick to the letter of the law. On the other side of the rock, people resent paying high costs for childcare.
The report this week claimed that a lot of people pay more for childcare than their mortgage and it is a fine line to some whether working at all is an economic viability if all they are doing is earning enough for the children to be looked after while they work.
Hence enormous pressure to keep prices low & staff are the most expensive cost. But there is a minimum of fully trained staff one has to employ for the children (income) you look after.
Ergo, The rates of pay for nursery staff tend to be on the bottom rung of the pay ladder and hence attract those leaving school without a good level of qualifications.
It is all a very fine balance.
At present advanced apprentices in childcare must achieve Level 2 in Functional English, Maths & ICT (Which are equivalent to GCSE C but not as in depth, taking 6-12 months to achieve rather than 2 years.) whilst in training.
Now our esteemed government have decided that isn’t enough and Advanced Apprentices in Childcare must have the GCSE grade C in English & Maths before they are even allowed to start their Advance Apprenticeship.
This is a huge weight thrown onto the scales.
If youngsters do not leave school with the required grades they can’t start. If they can’t start they can’t be included in the ratios.
If the ratios can’t be achieved then nurseries will be forced to turn away children and prices will rise.
Another upward pressure on prices will be that suitably qualified youngsters will have more options available & will need higher rates of pay in order to be tempted into a working world of screaming babies with dirty nappies.
And, of course, there will be a shortfall of advanced trainees whilst current Intermediate apprentices study for GCSES.
And so on.
Fun fun fun.
The trouble with this government is not so much that there are unexpected consequences but there are easily identified consequences that are ignored.
It seems that it is not a case of politicians squaring circles. It is one of claiming that a polyhedron is an oblong.
Explain that to the kids.